Conference at UCLA Explores the Significance of American Jewish Music and Its Reach

Published: October 27, 2017

Program opens with the world premiere of “David’s Quilt,” an original libretto about biblical King David

Ariane Bicho | 

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies will present “American Culture and the Jewish Experience in Music,” a two-day conference exploring the influence that Jewish customs, values and beliefs have had on American music and the growth of music for Jews in America.

Convened by Mark Kligman, the Mickey Katz Endowed Chair in Jewish Music and the director of the Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the performances and discussions will illustrate how the inventiveness and flexibility of American culture provided unprecedented opportunities for Jewish artists to thrive across musical genres.

“The period of intense creativity among American Jewish musicians began nearly 125 years ago, and it has transformed what we listen to,” Kligman said. “The effect can be seen in popular music forms such as ‘Hava Nagila,’ and the birth of the Broadway musical, as well as the incorporation of art, folk and jazz in the innovative work of composers such as Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland, whose music transcended the concert hall and entered into popular consciousness.”

An evening concert on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Stephen S. Wise Temple in Bel Air opens the conference. Featuring the world premiere of “David’s Quilt,” an original, contemporary libretto that explores the life of biblical King David, the new work by 15 Los Angeles-based composers, including school of music faculty and students, will be performed by UCLA students and alumni including the Chamber Singers.

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